We had a moment after the session was over to grab some random copy and run a quickie shootout.
First I set up our standard AT4050, Nick's TLM103, and my DIY Austin Ribbon Mic with the three membranes as parallel as I could get them.
With the mics set, I had Nick stand about 8 inches away and centered up so that we could get the most fair test of the three at the same time. I'd typically mic a voiceover slightly closer than we did here - though Nick did lean in near the end and work some proximity effect.
We read some random copy both in a regular and kind of laid back style, and then a bit more in a louder, more upbeat style - and we were joking around a bit throughout. I kept rolling as we had a casual conversation for a minute or so after reading from the script.
All of the mics ran into a rack of John Hardy M1 preamps. The ribbon mic went through a cloudlifter as well in order to better match the impedance to what the M1s offer and to help match the gain to the much hotter output of the condensers.
Here's a photo of the preamp settings that matched up the outputs. The 4050 is channel 1, the TL103 is channel 2, and the Austin Ribbon (post cloudlifter) is channel 3:
Both the 4050 and the TLM103 had very similar output levels, and the ribbon was still 15 db or so softer than them even after the cloudlifter pre-boosted its signal by 20 db.
so given all of the setup, here's are the final recordings (downloadable via soundcloud)
after a couple of listens, here are my thoughts:
The ribbon mic was its own beast - pretty thick and wooly and the p-pops would actually flutter rather than pop. In my opinion that recording would need a good bit of work to really fly. Mostly just handling all of the low end that was masking a lot of the rest of the spectrum. The mic kind of smoothed out the transients in a different way than the other two did, and kind of had a natural analog compression to it, which I liked.
Both the 4050 and the TLM103 are very good sounding mics and very smooth across the frequency spectrum. The TLM103 is not quite as bright as the 4050 but I certainly wouldn't rate the 4050 as harsh in any way. In fact, I'd probably say that the 4050 was the most detailed of the three - which really showed through when Nick was rustling the pages of his script a bit.
The 4050 makes a recording that cuts through music with less manipulation, while the TLM103 makes a recording that likes to stand alone a little more.
I thought both mics flattered Nick's voice and worked with both reads well.